Jeep WK2 Grand Cherokee questions | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Jeep WK2 Grand Cherokee questions

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zgfiredude

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We are considering the purchase of WK2 Grand Cherokee for my wife's daily. From the reading that I've done and from what I've found we'd be wanting the 3.6 with the Quadra-trac 2 4wd system.

Who's had experience with one and can share the pro's/con's of this model? We would likely be in the 2012 to 2016 year range.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.
 

zgfiredude

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Maybe some more context would be helpful....

We have a Jeep JKUR and a teardrop camper.....these get most of the fun travel duty. We like to mountain bike, stand up paddle board and combo these things with camping in the teardrop. Further, my wife has a bit of a work commute, and given that we live in western Colorado and her work is in Aspen, this involves some snow driving. We also have adult children that live in the Denver area, so we bounce over there from time to time year around. Currently my wife drives a Prius V (the wagon) and while it has it's advantages, it is small-ish and low....snow driving is not it's strong point.

My daughter recently bought a Grand Cherokee, and we've spent a little time in it which yielded my wife saying that "I might like a Grand Cherokee this winter." I can take a hint after 32 years of marriage!

So, here we are exploring the options. I am warming up to the idea as it could also pull the camper, haul the bikes, carry the paddle boards and I think offer a better/safer car for the Mrs. I'm just wondering about the nuances of ownership and any specific things to maybe avoid. The hemi doesn't make the most sense for us, and I'm so far shying away from the air suspension (complexity/maintenance concerns). Tell me what else I'm missing or need to know!
 

NJRadioGuy

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I have a 2018 Trailhawk, modified up the wazoo for off-roading and this thing is a beast. Wrangler and Gladiator drivers are stunned when they see what it (and I) can do with it. But be aware of its limitations: 20 inches of water fording at most, lower ground clearance than you'd get in a stock JKUR/JLUR/etc, and air suspension means no aftermarket lifts and bigger tires. It's also Independent suspension front and rear, as opposed to the Wrangler's beam axles, so no articulation. The Trailhawk edition has a limited slip rear diff that's made all the difference for me. I'll outwheel most open diff Wranglers with it. I've never needed to pull line even once with it.

Perhaps the worst limitation is that there's not much aside from armor available for it in the aftermarket the way there is for Toyota and Wrangler. I have Chief Products rock sliders, heavy-duty sump plate, and transmission plate, and OffRoad Animal steel front lower bumper, hidden winch mount (Warn EVO 10,000# winch), and nudge bar. I wouldn't even consider wheeling this without at least the rock sliders (it's a W-I-D-E vehicle), sump plate and lower front guard.2021-08-21 11.25.27-1.jpg
 

NJRadioGuy

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Mine is the 3.6 with the QT-II system and air suspension. I don't love the air suspension, and frankly that's its biggest weakness in terms of potential problems on long term off-grid travel. So far no problems, however, and the ELSD and OR1/OR2 heights have been enough for what I do with it. On pavement it's just great. Heated/cooled front seats (heated rears), AC inverter, a ride as smooth as glass on good roads, 8.4" infotainment system with great sound, sunroof and it handles snow like any good 4WD should. I prefer the 18" wheels on the Trailhawk to the 20" wheels on most of the other models - sidewall height is your friend here. The 3.6 has that infernal auto stop-start that can't be defeated without aftermarket electronics, and ditto with the inability to program sat-nav while in motion.

It is also a very large vehicle. Ponderously so, in fact. Fuel mileage with the 3.6 in NJ (i.e. not at 10,000' ASL) is about 20 highway, and 14 or so city. I feel violated at the pump.

The stock tires are Goodyear Wrangler with kevlar reinforcement. They are not really good on anything except dry pavement. I upgraded to Falken Wildpeak AT/3s, and went up one size to 265/65R18.

Dealer service is expensive and not great, but since it's a Jeep, you definitely want to spring for the MaxCare extended warranty, because things will break.
 
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zgfiredude

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Thanks for the input! Likely it will stay mostly stock, and I am likely to avoid the air suspension. It will get Falken or Toyos for all purpose rubber and decent snow capability.

Any thoughts on the 5 speed vs the 8 speed? And what about that goofy electronic shifter?
 

NJRadioGuy

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Mine has the 8-speed and along with the 3.6 Pentastar that's a great combination. Very, very reliable. It also has a set of flappy paddles on the steering wheel, so I can paddle shift on blacktop if I want, or use them to control my speed if I have hill(billy) descent control engaged on the trails.
 
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DeltaBravo

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Get the HEMI!! She'll love it - size DOES matter ( so does horsepower ). Having said that, the 3.6 is a GREAT motor. Wife's Chrysler 300 has it and my 2014 JGC had it too. HTH YMMV XYZ
 
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zgfiredude

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Well, we could.....but going from a Prius to a Hemi might be a bit overkill, lol.

The tough part is that she wants tan interior. She doesn't like black interiors....and likely white exterior!

Needle in a haystack!

Not in too big a rush, so I can just keep searching until I find the right one.

Factory tow pkg and the skid plates would be nice too!
 

zgfiredude

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The hunt is on in full earnest.....specific list to look for, so it will likely take time. I'll keep this updated periodically with progress or lack thereof.
 

tjZ06

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I have 2 WK2s, and have owned 3 total. Our first was a '16 High Altitude (5.7 Hemi) which we sold and regretted that, our 2nd and the wife's current daily is a '18 Trackhawk (6.2 Supercharged), and I just picked up a '17 Trailhawk (5.7 Hemi) for use with my teardrop trailer and as my DD. Needless to say, I love WK2s. The '16 and the '17 had/have the air suspension, the Trackhawk of course does not. As a DD they're just really, really good vehicles. They have their little issues (the '16 and '17 had/have the pano sunroof, it seems they all rattle a little sooner or later, our Trackhawk we got without it) but are overall very reliable vehicles. They're very comfortable (the Trailhawk and Trackhawk seats are a bit better than what's available in the other trims, IMHO), are pretty feature-loaded, and are priced right (I paid ~34k for my '17 Trailhawk with the Trailhawk Luxury Group and the 5.7 with ~27k miles on it).

One thing I will say though, is you should reconsider the 3.6. It's a good motor, and gets the job done, but the Hemi is so much better suited to the WK2. The WK2 is heavy, and the Hemi's torque is really better matched to the vehicle. Yes, the 8 speed is a tremendous trans and really helps the 3.6 get the job done, but it's just not the 'best' drivetrain for it. Plus, if you go Hemi you get the HD brakes, as well as the 8HP70 trans (vs. the 8HP50 with the 3.6) as well as the bigger diffs from the SRT (the regular NA 6.4 SRT, not the 6.2 SC Trackhawk's diffs). In the real world, MPG is very, very close between the 3.6 and the 5.7. Back before we got the '16 we test-drove all 3 engine options (3.6, 5.7, and Ecodiesel) on the same extended loop with a mix of freeway and city, and found the 5.7 actually got a bit better MPG with our driving, in that loop. We would regularly get 24-25 MPG on pure freeway runs with the '16.

I just did about 800 miles going from North to South through almost all of Idaho from the Canadian border down to the Boise area, nearly all off road in my Trailhawk w/ the teardrop. Average economy on the whole trip was like 12-13 MPG... but the trailer is nearly 3k lbs and almost the whole trip was up/down big mountains. The WK2 was exceptionally comfortable, and extremely well suited for the job. There was nothing extreme or technical, but some pretty steep rocky sections it had no issue with. Personally, I loved having the air suspension so I could adjust it to the terrain... but also it made it easier to level the trailer each night (we moved every day, and often setup camp after dark... so I wasn't unhitching and deploying the jacks on the trailer).

That said... with 2 miles to go back to pavement I got an air suspension fault. This was 100% my fault... I had installed 'lift rods' to level the front and they were a terrible design with little clips that were impossible to install and got lost easily... so I was missing 2 clips. My passenger side rod came off at the sensor, which of course confused the air suspension. It wouldn't be an issue had I left it alone, or got all the stuipid clips on, or used a better designed rod. Of course, now the front susp is leaking down overnight so I suspect I damaged a bag. Again, entirely my fault and I STILL would recommend the air suspension... just my real-world experience.

Playing around at Hollister Hills with the Trailhawk:
(note in that last vid if I had rolled just sliiiiightly faster it would have walked right up but I was still learning the rig, also I forgot to put it in Rock Crawl mode for all of that stuff)

Towing the trailer off road:

Trailhawk and trailer:
messages_0 (26).jpeg
messages_0 (23).jpeg

Trackhawk:
received_1032185357211146.jpeg
received_358265722066715.jpeg
IMG_20200919_203404_578.jpg


And the '16 High Altitude:
18.jpg
19.jpg

-TJ

PS- I still have the WJ, it's grown a bit and occasionally gets trailer duty too:
20210620_125849.jpg
20210620_125830.jpg
 
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tjZ06

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Thanks for the input! Likely it will stay mostly stock, and I am likely to avoid the air suspension. It will get Falken or Toyos for all purpose rubber and decent snow capability.

Any thoughts on the 5 speed vs the 8 speed? And what about that goofy electronic shifter?
The 8 speed is a far, far, faaaaaaaaaaar better trans and is one of the best things about a WK2. Also, in '16 they went back to a regular style shifter, so I'd really consider looking '16+.

-TJ
 

zgfiredude

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I have 2 WK2s, and have owned 3 total. Our first was a '16 High Altitude (5.7 Hemi) which we sold and regretted that, our 2nd and the wife's current daily is a '18 Trackhawk (6.2 Supercharged), and I just picked up a '17 Trailhawk (5.7 Hemi) for use with my teardrop trailer and as my DD. Needless to say, I love WK2s. The '16 and the '17 had/have the air suspension, the Trackhawk of course does not. As a DD they're just really, really good vehicles. They have their little issues (the '16 and '17 had/have the pano sunroof, it seems they all rattle a little sooner or later, our Trackhawk we got without it) but are overall very reliable vehicles. They're very comfortable (the Trailhawk and Trackhawk seats are a bit better than what's available in the other trims, IMHO), are pretty feature-loaded, and are priced right (I paid ~34k for my '17 Trailhawk with the Trailhawk Luxury Group and the 5.7 with ~27k miles on it).

One thing I will say though, is you should reconsider the 3.6. It's a good motor, and gets the job done, but the Hemi is so much better suited to the WK2. The WK2 is heavy, and the Hemi's torque is really better matched to the vehicle. Yes, the 8 speed is a tremendous trans and really helps the 3.6 get the job done, but it's just not the 'best' drivetrain for it. Plus, if you go Hemi you get the HD brakes, as well as the 8HP70 trans (vs. the 8HP50 with the 3.6) as well as the bigger diffs from the SRT (the regular NA 6.4 SRT, not the 6.2 SC Trackhawk's diffs). In the real world, MPG is very, very close between the 3.6 and the 5.7. Back before we got the '16 we test-drove all 3 engine options (3.6, 5.7, and Ecodiesel) on the same extended loop with a mix of freeway and city, and found the 5.7 actually got a bit better MPG with our driving, in that loop. We would regularly get 24-25 MPG on pure freeway runs with the '16.

I just did about 800 miles going from North to South through almost all of Idaho from the Canadian border down to the Boise area, nearly all off road in my Trailhawk w/ the teardrop. Average economy on the whole trip was like 12-13 MPG... but the trailer is nearly 3k lbs and almost the whole trip was up/down big mountains. The WK2 was exceptionally comfortable, and extremely well suited for the job. There was nothing extreme or technical, but some pretty steep rocky sections it had no issue with. Personally, I loved having the air suspension so I could adjust it to the terrain... but also it made it easier to level the trailer each night (we moved every day, and often setup camp after dark... so I wasn't unhitching and deploying the jacks on the trailer).

That said... with 2 miles to go back to pavement I got an air suspension fault. This was 100% my fault... I had installed 'lift rods' to level the front and they were a terrible design with little clips that were impossible to install and got lost easily... so I was missing 2 clips. My passenger side rod came off at the sensor, which of course confused the air suspension. It wouldn't be an issue had I left it alone, or got all the stuipid clips on, or used a better designed rod. Of course, now the front susp is leaking down overnight so I suspect I damaged a bag. Again, entirely my fault and I STILL would recommend the air suspension... just my real-world experience.

Playing around at Hollister Hills with the Trailhawk:
(note in that last vid if I had rolled just sliiiiightly faster it would have walked right up but I was still learning the rig, also I forgot to put it in Rock Crawl mode for all of that stuff)

Towing the trailer off road:

Trailhawk and trailer:
View attachment 211448
View attachment 211449

Trackhawk:
View attachment 211452
View attachment 211453
View attachment 211454


And the '16 High Altitude:
View attachment 211455
View attachment 211456

-TJ

PS- I still have the WJ, it's grown a bit and occasionally gets trailer duty too:
View attachment 211450
View attachment 211451
THANK YOU for taking the time to share all this! Super helpful, and I understand what you are saying about the V8....I won't immediately discount that option.
 

tjZ06

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THANK YOU for taking the time to share all this! Super helpful, and I understand what you are saying about the V8....I won't immediately discount that option.
No problem, I figured hey, WK2s are something I really know so I'm happy to share. I didn't really say it, but I'd say the Trailhawk with the Trailhawk luxury group would be my suggestion, especially if it'll get some off road duty. Mine is a '17 as I said, and the luxury group in '17 "just" had the leather/suede seats, not the "upgraded" leather option that came with it later (I think it started in '18, but I'm not 100% sure of that). I only mention this, because both my wife and I actually like the suede setup a lot more, and both our Trailhawk and Trackhawk have it, rather than the "upgrade." Flip-side, if you care about Android Auto/Apple Carplay that began in '18 (my '17 Trailhawk doesn't have it, our '18 Trackhawk does). '19 the screen sits more flush to the dash, but is the same 8.4" UConnect touch screen.

Now, if off road is 100% out of the question, or would be groomed forest service roads very, very rarely I would recommend the High Altitude we had. It was a bit better on-road with the 20" wheels and more street-oriented tires, and that also meant a big better MPG than my Trailhawk (especially after I put the larger 275/65-18 tires on my TH). I still like the TH seats better (especially in the suede, as I mentioned) but if the wife doesn't want the more "off roady" version, the High Altitude is great. It's very loaded, but doesn't have all the chrome bling like the Summit and Overland. After our year HA, they started blacking out the window trim on them which looks better IMHO (and we later did on ours).

-TJ
 
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zgfiredude

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THANK YOU for taking the time to share all this! Super helpful, and I understand what you are saying about the V8....I won't immediately discount that option.
No problem, I figured hey, WK2s are something I really know so I'm happy to share. I didn't really say it, but I'd say the Trailhawk with the Trailhawk luxury group would be my suggestion, especially if it'll get some off road duty. Mine is a '17 as I said, and the luxury group in '17 "just" had the leather/suede seats, not the "upgraded" leather option that came with it later (I think it started in '18, but I'm not 100% sure of that). I only mention this, because both my wife and I actually like the suede setup a lot more, and both our Trailhawk and Trackhawk have it, rather than the "upgrade." Flip-side, if you care about Android Auto/Apple Carplay that began in '18 (my '17 Trailhawk doesn't have it, our '18 Trackhawk does). '19 the screen sits more flush to the dash, but is the same 8.4" UConnect touch screen.

Now, if off road is 100% out of the question, or would be groomed forest service roads very, very rarely I would recommend the High Altitude we had. It was a bit better on-road with the 20" wheels and more street-oriented tires, and that also meant a big better MPG than my Trailhawk (especially after I put the larger 275/65-18 tires on my TH). I still like the TH seats better (especially in the suede, as I mentioned) but if the wife doesn't want the more "off roady" version, the High Altitude is great. It's very loaded, but doesn't have all the chrome bling like the Summit and Overland. After our year HA, they started blacking out the window trim on them which looks better IMHO (and we later did on ours).

-TJ
I will broaden the scope of the hunt and see what turns up...great info.
 

zgfiredude

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Well, found it!

2014 Limited, white/tan leather, 3.6 and the 8 speed auto. The Mrs. loves it and it's not even home yet! We pick it up at the end of next week, it's a Carvana car so it's being shipped in. Hope the test drive/inspections goes well, but believe that it will.

Thanks for all the advice.